The Nets won’t exercise their team option on Kessler Edwards for 2022/23, worth $1,563,518, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. However, Brooklyn has issued a qualifying offer worth a projected $1.84MM, making Edwards a restricted free agent, Smith adds.
The 44th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Edwards showed some promise as a rookie this past season, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 48 appearances (20.6 MPG). He posted a .412/.353/.842 shooting line and even made 23 starts when the team’s depth was impacted by injuries and COVID-19.
It may seem unusual for the Nets to turn down Edwards’ option in order to tender him a more expensive qualifying offer, but doing so will give the team the opportunity to sign him to a contract that extends beyond 2022/23.
The Pelicans took this approach with Didi Louzada a year ago, declining his second-year option, issuing him a qualifying offer, then re-signing him to a four-year contract worth a little more than the minimum.
Brooklyn didn’t have the ability to offer Edwards more than a two-year contract last offseason because the team was over the cap and used its full mid-level exception on Patty Mills. Now, the Nets have Edwards’ Non-Bird rights, allowing them to go up to four years on a new deal. They’d also be able to match any offer the former Pepperdine standout signs with another team.